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Is your nonprofit competing for top talent? What organization isn’t? Every hiring manager is looking for that ideal candidate who exceeds all of their job qualifications, fits into their organization’s culture and is motivated by its mission.

In the for-profit sector, companies that want to hire these coveted candidates often have the ability to increase their offers and leverage a higher compensation package as a way to entice prospective hires. The nonprofit sector works differently, however. In the mission-focused, budget-driven nonprofit world, upping the ante on an offer is not always possible.

Nonprofit organizations are regularly faced with the prospect of appealing to top candidates through means other than money. While this can be a challenge, it’s also an opportunity to amplify the non-traditional benefits of working at your organization and appeal to the candidates who are most invested in your mission.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to bolster your offer and ensure your dream candidates accept. Understand that the factors that attract Candidate X might not resonate with Candidate Y, and tailor your pitch accordingly.

Here are three important selling points to consider when making your job offer.

You Will Hold Many Roles

Nonprofits offer employees the opportunity to wear many hats and explore different roles and facets of the organization. This diverse work can help employees develop a wider array of skills and learn more in a shorter time period than they would at a for-profit organization where their role may be more narrowly defined. Nonprofits often give emerging professionals more meaningful responsibilities and promote employees more quickly than for-profit companies as well.

You Will Enjoy Other Perks

Many nonprofits offer their employees perks like generous retirement plans, added vacation time and flexible scheduling that promotes better work-life balance. While these perks might not directly impact an employee’s take home pay, they do contribute to their overall compensation and quality of life. As a hiring manager, it’s important to emphasize these benefits and even illustrate how they contribute to your total compensation package when making a job offer.

You Will Make a Meaningful Impact

Many job seekers are attracted to the nonprofit sector because they want to make a meaningful impact in their work. This is especially true among millennials. In fact, a study by the Career Advisory Board conducted by Harris Interactive found that the number one factor young adults ages 21 to 31 want in a career is a sense of meaning. That’s something they can find at a nonprofit with a mission that is closely aligned with their own interests and passions. Additionally, a Net Impact survey found that two-thirds of graduating students rank making an impact through their job as their top motivating factor, over having a prestigious title and being wealthy.

As a hiring manager, it’s your job to show candidates just how much fulfillment they could get from their work. However, your organization’s impact can be hard to convey within the confines of an interview. Adopting a “show don’t tell” mentality is important–rather than simply telling your candidates about the change your organization is driving, build opportunities for them to meet with your employees and the people you serve in the interview process.

Recruiting top performers can be challenging, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that your nonprofit can’t compete simply because you can’t match the salary offers of your corporate counterparts. Get creative about how you position your organization’s opportunities for career enrichment, impact and non-monetary compensation, and you’ll set your nonprofit up to attract and secure the top talent you need to make meaningful progress toward your mission.


As a nonprofit, your first contact with a potential employee is often through a job posting. As you write these posts, it’s important to view them not as a simple administrative exercise, but a powerful opportunity to build your employment brand and appeal to top talent. They’re the perfect opportunity to introduce jobseekers to your culture, purpose and profile and encourage them to apply. Check out our white paper to get a closer look at a great job posting to find out what makes it work.

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Want more tips on recruiting the best and brightest nonprofit employees? Download our guide to Job Posting Best Practices for Nonprofits.

About the Author

Yvonne is a bilingual professional who brings more than 20 years of staffing and recruitment experience to Nonprofit HR. She is a proven staffing strategist who is effective at recruiting at all career levels and who has superior ability to bring together talented teams. Prior to joining Nonprofit HR, Yvonne held leadership roles at Spherion and Career Blazers (acquired by Global Employment Solutions). She brings deep experience supporting the staffing needs of the nonprofit sector.

As Manager of Talent Acquisition at Nonprofit HR, Yvonne leads our day-to-day temporary staffing and direct hire activities, including building and cultivating client and candidate relationships and enhancing the firm’s opportunities to continue to serve as a valued business partner with our clients.

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